On July 12, 2012, Dominic Durden, a 30-year-old Riverside County, California sheriff’s dispatcher was on his way to work, when Juan Zacarias Lopez Tzun, 24, made an illegal left-hand turn in his pickup on Pigeon Pass Road, striking Durden’s motorcycle. Durden’s injuries were massive and he died at the scene.
Tzun, an illegal alien, was charged with vehicular manslaughter and for driving without a license. Despite the fact that Tzun killed an innocent young man, he was booked into the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, on only $7,500 bail.
On April 3, 2013, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Raphael A. Arreola sentenced Tzun to 90 days in jail and to 180 days in a work-release program. Tzun had already spent 56 days in jail, and only served an additional 30 days, before being released on May 2, after which, he was eventually deported.
Not surprisingly, the crash that killed Durden was not Tzun’s first run-in with the law…what follows is Tzun’s criminal history in California:
• On May 13, 2012, he was arrested, and charged with suspicion of driving under the influence and not having a license.
• In November 2010, he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and was sentenced to three years’ probation, 10 days in jail, and a $1,660 fine. Under the terms of his probation, he was required to obtain a driver’s license…he never did.
• In 2009, he was charged with grand theft auto.
Despite these charges, Tzun was never reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials for possible deportation, and was allowed to roam freely, continuing to place the citizens of Riverside County, in grave danger.
In fact, The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported that the California Highway Patrol refused to investigate Tzun’s immigration status, following his first DUI arrest.
Furthermore, the paper also reported:
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department does not inform ICE of impending releases after receiving an immigration detainer, Sgt. Mike Manning said.
In addition to serving as a sheriff’s 911 dispatcher, Durden was a volunteer firefighter, and an accomplished pilot. “Dom,” as his mother, Sabine called him, loved animals and was the “ultimate prankster, …who would do anything to make you laugh.”
It was Durden’s lifelong dream to become a police officer, and he spent much of his 30 years on Earth helping others and bringing a smile to the faces of his friends and family.
This writer often speaks with Sabine Durden, and, of course, we talk about the impact of Dominic’s untimely death and the incredibly unjust circumstances surrounding it. Her heartfelt and inspiring words can be found on the website she created to honor her son’s memory, known as DOMHUGS
Sabine Durden has established a scholarship in Dominic’s name to assist students enrolled in Emergency Medical Technician programs at Moreno Valley College.
Unlike President Obama’s so-called “DREAMERS,” who, in reality, are nothing more than criminals, Dominic Durden was a true “dreamer” who also put those dreams into action (he achieved a 4.0 GPA, became a pilot, and always donated his time to his community…all by the age of 30!). His death is a loss, not only to those who were fortunate to have known him personally, but to every American.
“Dom” was a young man whom all of us would be proud to call brother, son, or pal.
So, go ahead and weep for this true “dreamer!”